Fair Housing Testing Investigations

The Central Alabama Fair Housing Center (CAFHC) operates a fair housing testing program to monitor housing industry practices and to collect valuable evidence of housing discrimination. Fair housing “testing” is an investigative tool used by fair housing centers throughout the country.  The process is similar to that used by “mystery shoppers” in the retail market.  Fair housing centers train community members to pose as people seeking to rent an apartment, buy a home, obtain a home loan, or purchase home insurance.  CAFHC operates the only fair housing testing program in central Alabama.

The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized testing as a valid, and in many cases the only, means of detecting housing discrimination.  Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development use fair housing testing as a means of enforcing the Fair Housing Act.

CAFHC test results have helped local residents fight housing discrimination since 1995.  Our testing program has uncovered discriminatory practices in the central Alabama rental and sales markets including:

  • Racial “steering”, or directing home seekers to or away from neighborhoods based on the race of the home seeker or the racial makeup of the neighborhood
  • Giving false information about the availability of an apartment or home
  • Requiring higher security deposits or rent, and/or imposing additional rental requirements based on race
  • Failing to allow guide dogs or other necessary accommodations for people with disabilities
  • Failing to comply with the Fair Housing Act’s requirement that most apartment complexes be accessible to people using wheelchairs

If you want to become a tester click here.